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Activision Blizzard CEO says response to harassment lawsuit was ‘tone deaf’

Following practically per week of inner unrest, Activision Blizzard has revealed a letter from CEO Bobby Kotick addressing the corporate’s unique response to the sexual harassment lawsuit introduced in opposition to it by the California Division of Truthful Employment and Housing (DFEH) on July twentieth. “Our preliminary responses to the problems we face collectively, and to your issues, have been, fairly frankly, tone deaf,” Kotick says within the letter addressed to Activision Blizzard employees. “It’s crucial that we acknowledge all views and experiences and respect the sentiments of those that have been mistreated in any method. I’m sorry that we didn’t present the proper empathy and understanding.”

Kotick claims Blizzard Activision is taking “swift motion” to make sure a protected, respectful and inclusive working setting for girls and different minority teams. The corporate has employed legislation agency WilmerHale to overview its insurance policies, and Kotick says Activision Blizzard will implement adjustments to its hiring practices. It additionally plans to make personnel tweaks and take away content material from its video games workers and gamers have stated is “inappropriate” in mild of the allegations in opposition to the corporate. On Tuesday, the World of Warcraft growth workforce stated it will take away particular references from the MMO. Whereas the workforce didn’t elaborate, these references could contain gadgets and non-playable characters named after Alex Afrasiabi, one of many former Blizzard workers singled out within the DFEH lawsuit for repeated inappropriate habits.

Notably, the letter doesn’t make point out of compelled arbitration, saying solely the corporate “will proceed to research every declare and won’t hesitate to take decisive motion,” nor does it promise better transparency in terms of worker compensation. These are two points Activision Blizzard workers who’re staging a walkout to protest for higher working situations highlighted in a press release of intent they shared on Tuesday.

In its preliminary public response to the lawsuit, Activision Blizzard stated the allegations from DFEH included “distorted, and in lots of instances false, descriptions of Blizzard’s previous.” In a separate electronic mail to workers, Frances Townsend, govt vice chairman of company affairs on the firm, claimed the lawsuit presents “a distorted and unfaithful image of our firm, together with factually incorrect, previous and out of context tales — some from greater than a decade in the past.”

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